Bob Stuart, creator of MQA and co-founder of Meridian Audio, was awarded the Royal Academy of Engineering Prince Philip Medal for ‘his exceptional contribution to audio engineering which has changed the way we listen to music and experience films.’ Stuart is the first audio engineer to receive the award in its 20-year history.
Previous recipients of the Prince Philip Medal include inventor of the turbojet engine, Air Commodore Sir Frank Whittle OM KBE CB FREng FRS; geothermal power innovator, Lucien Bronicki; and the electrical engineer who revolutionized fiber optics, Dr. Charles Kao CBE FRS FREng.
Commissioned by HRH Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh KG KT, Senior Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Prince Philip Medal is awarded periodically to an engineer of any nationality who has made exceptional contributions to engineering through practice, management or education.
In accepting this award, Bob Stuart reflects: “Audio engineering sits at an intersection between analog and digital engineering, music and the human listener. My passion to enable great sound recording and playback has required a multi-disciplinary approach, but that quest to preserve and share music performances is very satisfying and important. I am honored and humbled to receive this award from the Royal Academy of Engineering.”
Legendary, multi-Grammy Award winning mastering engineer, Bob Ludwig, shares his thoughts: “Bob Stuart is a connoisseur of both engineering and music, and that is what sets him apart. He is like a mastering engineer — he knows what music is supposed to sound like, so he isn’t blinded by theory or technology. If something does not sound right to his ear, he will quickly reject it and explore a more musical way of accomplishing his goals. The invention of MQA improved the sound clarity that was blurred by digital components and, as a musician, I am so delighted for my ears to be the recipient of Bob’s creation and to use it in my work.”
Stuart studied electronic engineering and acoustics at the University of Birmingham and operations research at Imperial College, London. In 1972 while working at Cambridgeshire start-up Lecson Audio, he met industrial designer Allen Boothroyd. The duo’s debut design, the Lecson AC1/AP1, won the Design Council Award — the first of a record three Design Council Awards for Bob and Allen, and marked the start of a 40-year partnership.
In 1977 Bob co-founded Meridian Audio and served as CTO until early 2015.
In 2014 he founded MQA Ltd where he is currently chairman and CTO. While at Meridian Audio, Stuart pushed the boundaries of high-performance analog and digital audio and video technologies. His deep interest in human auditory science drove a lifelong passion to improve the way we hear recorded music.
In the 1990s Bob led the team that pioneered lossless compression for audio and introduced it to the industry. In 2000, Meridian’s MLP lossless encoding was adopted as the standard for DVD-Audio and subsequently in 2005 for Blu-ray, when it was acquired by Dolby Laboratories. Innovations in product design included the world’s first consumer digital and DSP loudspeakers and audiophile CD players. Stuart and Meridian Audio were also behind the sound systems for the McLaren P1 supercar and for many models of Jaguar Land Rover, as well as a sector-defining collaboration with Ferrari, the F80 all-in-one digital audio system.
Stuart is a lifelong student, researcher, and teacher, and has published several important papers on audio engineering. He is a Fellow of the Audio Engineering Society and has served on technical committees in the USA, Japan, and U.K.
For more information, visit www.mqa.co.uk.